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« A Time for Comfort Food | Main | Ground Meat to the Rescue! »

Make Mine with Miso

By Sandy Hu
The latest from Inside Special Fork

As a child, I never much cared for eggplant. Now I like eggplant, but rarely think to add it to my shopping list.

Recently, I’ve seen some very nice Japanese eggplants at our farmers’ market so I decided to cook it the way my mother did, with miso.

Sweet and salty, high in umami from fermentation, miso has a way of making everything taste better. Unlike some other fermented foods, this bean paste has a pleasant fragrance. Of the two main types, white miso is sweeter and smoother; red miso is saltier and more intense. Refrigerated, miso will keep a year.

You can use this recipe for other vegetables, such as green beans. Just be sure to cook the vegetable until almost done, because once the miso is added to the skillet, it will thicken, then start to burn.

My mom also used to fry miso to top hot rice. If you just do this recipe without the eggplant, it should approximate that miso topping we enjoyed as children.

Miso Eggplant
1 pound Japanese eggplants
2 tablespoons oil
4 tablespoons white miso
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon mirin (Japanese sweet cooking sake)
1 teaspoon naturally brewed soy sauce

Cut eggplants crosswise in 1-inch pieces, then cut each piece in half, diagonally to get a triangular shape.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat, add eggplants and cook, stirring, until they become limp, skins start to brown and the eggplants are cooked through.

While eggplants are cooking, in a small bowl, mix together miso, sugar, water, mirin and soy sauce.

When eggplants are cooked, add miso mixture to the skillet and continue cooking, stirring constantly to prevent burning, until miso thickens and glazes, about 1 minute.

Makes 4 servings.

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